First thing in the morning yesterday, I texted Billy and asked him to call me when he wakes up. Because it was his day off, it was my job to remind him of the things he needs to get done. This is not, mind you, your typical nagging-girlfriend's idea of "reminding," it is only at his request that I remind him of his planned tasks. Because, when he's lying in bed at 10:00am on a Wednesday, it's easy for him to forget that he has anything at all to do that does not include lying in our sublime bed, drinking coffee and enjoying one of Blue Ridge Cable's 600 or so channels.
So he called me, from the comfort of our bedsheets, cup of coffee that I'd left for him before I left for work in his groggy hand. I went over the list of things he wanted to do: Paint the trim in the hallway, move the table in the kitchen so that the furniture company can deliver our new couch tomorrow, pay some bills, call the computer tech who, after taking our computer twice (which left us without said computer for probably two months, and costing hundreds of dollars), still managed to forget, or just fail, to reinstall not only our old programs, documents and music, but also your basic building block of any functioning computer: Microsoft Word. And as we discussed his hefty to-do list for the day, he revealed to me that he was watching the World Cup. "Spain and the Ukraine," he said, his tone far-away and detached. I could see him there, in bed, holding the phone to his ear, sort of interested in our conversation, but eyes glued to the television with the sort of riveted gaze reserved for surgeons at work: Unwavering, concentrated, hoping to catch everything.
He detailed for me the events that were currently taking place on Germany's soccer field, as though I was hoping for a play-by-play when I asked him to call. But I wouldn't dare interrupt him. He's excited, he's enthralled. He's a mite obsessed.
As I commented over at The Anchored Nomad, Billy's family is part Mexican, part Italian. He lived for two years in Ghana. I don't know if his bloodlines and history are the root of his appreciation for the game, but to say that he is excited about the prospect of World Cup soccer is putting more than mildly. He's giddy like a ten year old. He wears his bright yellow Brazilian team jersey around the house to watch the games. He settles in on the couch with a pack of cigarettes and glass of Jack and Ginger to watch the games, no matter what time they play. However, he's all but eliminated the inconvenience to the tournaments crazy TV schedule; He can watch the games at his leisure, because of the DVR we have. All of the games are recorded, on High Definition channels, so that we can see every grain of grass, every muscle as it tightens on the defined legs of the players. Every tear, every droplet of sweat, every single solitary second in excruciating detail.
I'm not a huge fan of soccer. Really, I'm not a huge fan of any televised sport. I'll watch any sport live, but I've never quite experienced the need to watch people running around on TV, when I know I could be watching a rerun of Sex in the City or something. But, Sunday morning, we watched as The Netherlands (maybe? I'm not quite sure) took on Serbia & Montenegro. It was the first time I ever felt a draw to watch a sporting event. I felt some sort of pride for the (ultimately losing) team, and delighted in the announcers pronouncing the names of the players who represent the same country from which my mother's side of the family hails. I'll admit, I enjoyed it. Sort of.
Monday night, Billy got home at his usual time: Around ten. Having been at the gym sweating my ass off earlier in the day, I had fallen asleep in bed while half-heartedly watching The Real World/Road Rules Challenge: Fresh Meat. I didn't hear Billy come in, as he does his best to be quiet when he knows I'm sleeping, but I find it impossible to stay sleeping when someone is walking around in my room. I opened one eye to find him shedding his work clothes and stepping into his lounging clothes. "Hi baby," I mumbled, rousing myself from sleep.
He smiled as he pulled his neon yellow jersey over his head and walked over to sit next to me on the bed. "Hey, babe." He kissed my face gently in the quiet of the room. "How was your day?"
"Fine. I was trying to wait up for you..." I trailed off, sensing that I really had no point.
"Are you awake now? Or are you going back to sleep?"
I pushed myself up into a sitting position. "I think I'm up now." I pulled him into me and kissed his forehead. "How was your day?"
"Long. Sucky. You know, the usual."
"Me too." In an instant, his face lit up. "Hey!" Suddenly, he was all smiles and excitement. "You wanna come downstairs with me and watch the Italy-Ghana World Cup game? On the high def TV?"
There was something so genuine, so pure about his excitement. His eyes were wide and expectant, his smile broad and effortless. He was a man made of pure anticipation.
I shrugged my sleepy shoulders. "Sure," I said through a slight smile. Worse came to worst, I thought, I could just fall asleep there instead of in bed. I dressed myself and plodded downstairs, joining him on the couch as he aimed the remote at the TV.
I nestled into him as the game began, watching his reactions more than I was watching what was happening on the TV. Every so often, during a goal or a near miss, he'd leap from his reclined position, pumping his fist in the air out of frustration or elation. I found myself getting knocked around by his exuberance, giggling at how physical his reactions were to the game before us. Soon, I began to laugh at the players, who writhed on the crisp grass of field each time they fell onto it, hoping to cause the other team a penalty. Billy joined in with me, laughing at the players, speaking for them as they rolled around, covering their faces and feigning life-threatening injuries. After a goal was made by the Italians, the announcer exclaimed "Everyone here is excited," just as the camera panned to a crowd of screaming fans, with one guy standing in the middle of all of them, arms crossed with a scowl on his face. "Except for that guy," I added. It was a moment that struck us both as hilarious, and we laughed our way through Italy's celebration.
We went to bed no earlier than one in the morning, crawling into our covers, exhausted from just watching TV. When the alarm blared the next morning, it felt like we'd only been sleeping for an hour. I sat up and started to scoot out of bed, only to have Billy pull me back in. "I'm glad you came downstairs with me to watch the game last night," he said, his voice deep and sleepy. "I had fun."
And, quite surprisingly, I did, too.